Porter Wagoner, RIP

The old gospel songs seem right on occasions like this; here is Wagoner with the Willis Brothers doing I’ll Fly Away.

After eighty years, fifty of them on the Grand Ole Opry, Porter Wagoner has died. Tom Spaulding eulogizes: “He lived the life, sang about the life, and he went down swinging.” That life was full of hits; this year’s album, Wagonmaster is reviewed here. CMT notes that: “Porter Wagoner, the Thin Man from the West Plains, is a case of an artist often ahead of his time who has always appeared hopelessly behind the times.” And here’s Wagoner’s “Green, Green Grass of Home.”

For this (and so much else) I’m indebted to the husband I found in the days of Dripping Springs. He introduced me to the music of those tough old singers who perform – writing, singing, playing – until they die because they want to – and because they have to. Impelled by whatever lies in that hard stubborn core within, they have to be who they are – in Nudie suits, maybe, but always, really, themselves: authentic sounds and authentic words clothed in sequins and huge belt buckles.

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